In my last blog post, we discussed your Internal Guidance System.
Now, I’d like to offer a few keys to using it functionally.
LISTEN: If you ignore your Internal Guidance System, it won’t shut off automatically. It will continue to send you one emotional signal after another just like your GPS continues to say, “Please proceed to the highlighted route.”
In cases where you’ve been ignoring your emotional indicators for some time, you may no longer even understand the message. It’s just a monotonous relentless bad feeling that won’t seem to go away.
TRUST: The good news is you don’t have to go back & analyze why you feel this or that, you can simply accept these signals & allow them. They are emotions. It’s helpful to remember that emotions can change over time. That means letting them be without your RESISTANCE. Stop fighting yourself.
It requires allowing. So in this sense, trusting is allowing whatever emotions to be.
Using breathing techniques help when you get to the place you’re willing to allow your emotions to just be. Slow & conscious breathing assists in physically releasing resistance. Simply breathing in through your nose slowly, then out through your mouth is very soothing. G e n t l y . . .
REDIRECT: Once you’ve allowed your feelings to exist without squashing them or throwing up a wall of resistance, now you can redirect them in a more positive way.
It’s not surprising that in an effort to feel better most folks will go to any lengths to get relief. Unfortunately, with so little public education on mindfulness & training the brain to work for us in positive ways, that leaves only the most rudimentary solutions to redirect; acting out in self sabotage or numbing the emotions altogether. That’s why there is so much addictive & self-destructive behaviours as people instinctually look for ways to redirect but haven’t found a healthy means to soothe these emotional signals, yet.
Addictions are nothing to be ashamed of. Stop condemning yourself for seeking ways to feel better. It just means your desire to feel good is so strong you’re looking for any end-run around this thing. You have to stop beating yourself up for simply wanting some relief.
The trick with addictions is that the relief they provide is only temporary & we need a long-term solution to managing & co-existing with our Internal Guidance System.
Don’t get comfortable with being miserable. Don’t get comfortable with dreading everything. Don’t get comfortable being pessimistic. You want to keep your desire to feel good alive & well. SO you must recognize there are many healthy paths to getting there.
I believe that quieting the mind through meditation is the ideal way to redirect harmoniously. However, many of you aren’t able to sit through meditation just yet. And that’s just fine. We have to find what will work for you & often that is addressing the body through physical movement or bodywork, first.
Maybe your thing is walking, cross-fit, or running. Whatever allows you to physically over-ride the loud messages for a time to soothe the body & come back to the emotions when you’re in a more balanced state.
*Bodywork is excellent for keeping in touch with yourself, from the outside in. It’s also valuable because it fills a touch-deficit many are suffering from. Especially when you’re deep in depression or anxiety, non-expectant touch is a healthy safe place.
When I went to school for CranioSacral Therapy, we learned that an impingement in the spine that temporarily blocks the flow of cerebrospinal fluid can cause an emotional reaction of the RAS (reticular alarm system). That means a physical imbalance can throw off our emotions & put us in a STATE OF EMERGENCY emotionally.
It makes me think of how having a cold with a stuffy nose & being forced to breathe through the mouth can give some people anxiety attacks. Addressing the physical can & usually does ease the emotional alarms.
Having a trusted counselor can prove greatly beneficial as they have been trained in many ways to direct your thoughts & emotions for optimal living.
It’s a beautiful thing to reach out & be seen, heard & understood. You may find one day, you’re the one offering the outstretched hand in assistance to others.
There are endless options of redirecting difficult emotions including journaling, dancing, creating art, hiking, supporting your community, a building project, & so much more.
All of these are important but I’m curious if you’d like to add to the list.
Please add your suggestions in the comments below.
*meditation, yoga, mindfulness, therapeutic massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, sports therapy, etc.
You’ve all heard of GPS (global positioning system), that voice in your car leading you around. These days, most folks have a variety of navigation devices they can choose from.
In fact, so common is sat-nav that while we may depend on it, we also have the luxury of ignoring it. For example, when we take a little side trip but the device keeps saying, “Please proceed to the highlighted route.” Occasionally it’s, “Recalculating route.”
Well did you know we also have an Internal Guidance System? Everyone does. Instead of words or even thoughts, it uses emotions to guide us.
So first things first, if you are suffering then you can be assured your internal navigation is ON & functioning properly. Not that suffering is the only indicator but it’s one of the loudest, for sure!
I refer to it as the Internal Guidance System because it behaves just like the Central Nervous System. When you touch a hot stove, before you’ve even had a conscious thought about it, your hand has already reacted & pulled away fast! That’s because the sense of heat/pain was signaled directly to the spinal cord & bypassed the brain for quick action. No thought required.
So it is the same with emotional responses. They don’t have to make sense intellectually. In fact, they often don’t. That’s fine, they’re a completely different & highly attuned operating system.
Call it a “gut reaction,” or a “funny feeling.” It heightens your senses & puts you on alert. Again, not a bad thing. The more we trust those emotions, the more in-tune we are with ourselves. The problem is, ignoring our gut instinct has been glorified by so many people saying something’s a coincidence or thinking they’re just making it up in their head. But you can’t deny the gut. Repressing it only disconnects you from your true self or numbs the positive benefits it’s trying to signal to you.
Sometimes your emotions feel like you’re being punched, beaten, HIT. That’s not surprising since the *Sympathetic Nervous System ignites first response impulses traveling up to 250 mph along your synapse. Talk about a train wreck INSIDE YOU.
All that stress can lead to Osteoporosis, now dubbed a stress-related disorder, as well as Type 2 Diabetes, brain damage, hypertension, sleep deprivation, & even darker scenarios.
The good news is your conscious mind has the ABILITY to change automatic emotional reactions. That’s the beauty of neuroplasticity!
Some of my clients say, “Well, how can I turn it off??”
That’s a rational question when you’re taking the physical hit of your emotions over & over & over. Just remember that the only people in our society with NO STRESS RESPONSE are referred to by modern medicine as Psychopaths, unfeeling & incapable of guilt or remorse. Often born-in, but can also be trained-in.
So don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Your Internal Guidance System is necessary for knowing the difference between danger & safety, aching & soothing, harming & helping. Blessed mechanism that works so brilliantly.
Appreciate your Internal Guidance System & don’t be surprised if there’s not a lot you can do to talk yourself off the ledge in the throes of it. It’s in the moments between that we can learn ways to cope, manage, & handle our own stress & inner dialog. It’s definitely worth every effort.. but no beating yourself up along the way.
Your Internal Guidance System is functioning perfectly.
*Precedes reported emotions by 400-550 milliseconds before conscious awareness.